There have recently been postings regarding bees and their use in detecting explosives, probably the same procedures used in Angola to deal with landmines. You will most likely recall that the late Princess Diana was involved in bringing the situation in Angola to the notice of the rest of the world, she even visited the territory, and her selfless contribution in a way sparked the observations following, which I trust readers will find of interest.
During 2002 my fellow field workers were Walter and Dina who at that stage had been assisting me for more than 4 years with no bee behaviour problems of any nature. During June 2002 every colony we dealt with became restive a while after opening the hive. I had given Walter a full set of dentures and thought that maybe he was not cleaning it properly, so without telling him why he and I blew into the broodboxes via hosepipes. No significant reaction followed. Then I noticed that the bees became agitated when Dina came closer and as the weeks passed this became more pronounced, in fact Walter and I were also being attacked when Dina was in close proximity, and their aggravation only subsided with Dina being sent away. The aggro bees would follow her, concentrating on her lower regions. The problem could not be cleanliness as Dina is particularly clean on her person, so I asked my wife to ask her a few womanly questions, particularly regarding the monthly event. Nothing of consequence emerged and the fury of the bees increased to such an extent that we could not do our scheduled work properly.
Something was obviously amiss and Dina agreed to visit the hospital in Riversdale. I took her there and when fetching her looked at the pills prescribed, told her to throw it away, and went to see if my personal GP had a gap.
Conclusion:- Dina was operated on within a week at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, her plumbing, which was riddled with malignant tumours, was removed, the operation was a complete success, she returned to work after the prescribed period, the bees do not mind having her around and all her subsequent tests for cancer have been clear.